“In the first agreement between a pharmaceutical company and the new international Medicines Patent Pool, Gilead Sciences announced Tuesday that it would license four of its AIDS and hepatitis B drugs to the pool,” the New York Times reports (McNeil, 7/12).
Pakistan has reported the first case of the type-3 wild poliovirus in six months, raising concerns that the disease may spread to other parts of Asia and beyond, the WHO said on Thursday, Bloomberg/San Francisco Chronicle reports. “Confirmation of continuation of WPV3 transmission in tribal areas of Pakistan has significant implications for the global effort to eradicate WPV3, particularly as Asia is on the verge of eliminating circulation of this strain,” the WHO said on its website.
During a Tuesday news conference with reporters in Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “called on countries to urgently support United Nations agencies in their efforts to respond to the crisis in the Horn of Africa, where more than 11 million people are in need of life-saving assistance as they face the worst drought in decades,” the U.N. News Centre reports. U.N. agencies have called for $1.6 billion in aid for the region, but only half of that amount has been received, according to the news service (7/12).
The nations in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa “are at risk of ‘massive famine,’ Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told the Huffington Post Wednesday.” “It’s very severe,” Shah said. “We know from the data that we’ve been collecting that this is the worst drought in 60 years and itâ€™s going to have severe consequences. Eleven and a half million people are at real risk of malnutrition and famine already,” the Huffington Post reports (Hersh, 7/13).
“The first U.N. emergency airlift flight arrived in” Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on Sunday, “to assist the hundreds of thousands of Somalis who have fled the drought and famine afflicting their homeland,” ABC News reports (Hasan, 7/17). The jet, which was chartered by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), delivered 100 tons of tents meant for the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the U.N. News Centre writes. An additional four flights are scheduled to arrive in Nairobi this week (7/17).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has recorded more than 3,000 cases and 192 deaths from cholera since March, according to a U.N. report on the outbreak, VOA News reports (7/14).
“More than 100 public health experts have wrapped up a three-day meeting in Geneva to review a Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines that was developed in 2006, and to develop a strategic plan of action for the next five years,” VOA News reports, noting that the WHO “says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic than it was in the past” (Schlein, 7/14).
People who have fled the drought in Somalia to camps near the capital Mogadishu are being hit by cold, heavy rains, and at least five people have died of exposure, according to aid workers, BBC News reports.
Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday, Mark Bowden, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said the U.N. had officially declared a famine in the southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia, VOA News reports (7/20).
“House Republicans sought to put their stamp on U.S. foreign policy Wednesday by advancing a bill that would slash federal payments to the United Nations and other international bodies and slap restrictions on aid to Pakistan, Egypt and others,” the Washington Post reports (Sheridan, 7/20).